MY STORY by Isobel the Bachelorette
One day I happened upon a big book buried deep in the ground. I had been walking through the forest, searching for mandrake and the rare mushroom of everlasting love. Few books find their way to my part of the world so I picked it up and dusted the earth of its massive cover. From beneath the dirt appeared a faded photograph of a young woman. The young woman was I.
Despite the alarming fact that my own image was on the cover, I clung to the hope that the book contained a tale of a knight in shining armour and a fair lady waiting to be rescued from a blackhearted ogre. I tried to picture myself on a dark winter’s night, sitting in front of the fire, immersed in an ancient adventure. I opened the book, trembling with fear and excitement. The pages were blank.
I was about to cry out in a mixture of disappointment and relief when my gaze touched the paper where one would expect to find the first paragraph. To my surprise the book had started writing itself - as if by magick:
“One day when I was walking through the forest, searching for mandrake and the rare mushroom of everlasting love, I happened upon a big book buried deep in the ground.”
What it wrote was what I was doing there and then. It seemed to follow my every move. “Well,” I thought, “it’s an automatic diary. I guess that means it’s up to me to create the story as I go on living.” Deep down the thought saddened me. Who would ever want to go through page after page about someone like me? My life was so simple it would never make for a good read. But then a new sentence appeared: “I had to leave the forest.” And another one:
“I realised the book was not merely recounting what I did, it was telling me what I should do. It was time I left my house and started exploring the world.” I did exactly what the book told me to and the forest opened up to me like never before. It put on a great show of colours, movement and sounds - as if it wished to make sure it stayed rooted in my memory in all its dazzling beauty.
Now, I was ready to leave.
I got on the train and was on my way to the city. The countryside disappeared in a flash. I sat in the compartment reading about my journey, the narration always being one step ahead of what was happening to me. The train slid like a manic giant slug on its glistening tracks. The villages became towns, the towns became suburbs, the suburbs became the CITY.
Out the window I saw its skyscrapers grow from the horizon like giant fingers trying to poke holes in the firmament. As soon as the train pulled into the station and the busy crowd had pushed me out on the street, I consulted the book about what I was to do next. A sentence wrote itself out: “I explored the city like the forest before.” So, that is what I did.
Strangely enough the city did not scare me. The buildings reminded me of the tall pine trees of the forest; the light in the windows glimmered as the snow on their branches. The cars rushed along the streets like small animals busily preparing for the winter. And the neon lights? Well, they were my northern lights.
The days passed and the pages filled up with words. I followed the book’s writing like a recipe for an alchemist’s elixir of life. It had told me it was on this condition the next sentence would appear, and that if I did not respect the rule my beautiful adventure would vanish like a dream. It was an easy rule to obey. The book was taking me places beyond my imagination. I did whatever it asked of me.
But one thing had started to disturb me. The blank pages were becoming frightfully few. I could not but wonder how my story would end. I feared for the worst and started thinking about it day and night. Would I vanish? Or die?
I was seriously thinking about breaking up my relationship with the book when it came to my rescue. It spelled it out for me word by word. It had just been doing what all good books do; they create suspense in their last pages. I laughed out loud where I stood on the edge of a high rise in the city’s centre. To celebrate having regained my trust the book wrote on the top of the last page: “I took my story to Clark - publisher of fine books, on the corner of Easy Street and 23rd.”
I took my story to Clark - Publisher of Fine Books on the corner of Easy Street and 23rd.
Once in Clark’s humble office I handed him my book. He offered me a seat in a comfortable chair across his desk and I watched him read my story. I could see how the words moved him, how he responded to the events as if he was going through them himself. As his eyes glided down the last page the final sentence and conclusion to my tale appeared: “I knew my heart was his and that I would love him forever and ever … “ THE END
[Story by Björk and Sjón]